Minding Your Mind: Anger and Frustration

by David Arredondo

Too much negativity and anger will affect every aspect of your life – including your business, your health and your relationships.

Therefore it is critical to break habitual reactions that serve as kindling for the fire of anger and other negative emotions. Although they accurately delineate the problem, most “anger management” courses fall short of long term efficacy because they do not address the Tonal in the entirety of its interdependent parts.

The Heart

Your emotions, ruled by the Heart dimension of the Tonal, dictate your emotional reactions to a situation. If you are upset you’re in essence saying to yourself, “This situation is not OK, I must do something.” Unfortunately, the “something” that you do is directed outward. Instead, it needs to be directed inward: “I must do something about me.” First and foremost, you need to think of yourself and what you’re feeling – and Why you’re feeling it.

Habitual reactions serve as kindling to the fire of anger – and it’s another thing to watch out for when negative emotions arise. More often than not, a negative reaction to a situation or your immediate circumstances can lead to a type of sense memory, triggered by other times you’ve felt this way. What started out as a small spark of anger quickly erupts into dangerous, powerful flames of rage that frankly do nothing but exacerbate your problem (the anger thus provoking the situation). So, it’s important to recognize the emotion you’re feeling, and work to isolate it from whatever is going on in this moment. It’s not the time for a trip down Bad Memory Lane.

Time is on your side when dealing with negative emotions, whether at work or at home. If you tend to react instantly to vent your anger, whenever you feel this way it should set off a kind of “auto-timer” in your mind of 15 minutes or more. Vow to yourself not to react outwardly – in email, text, on the phone or in person – for at least 15 minutes. If at the end of your “time-out” period you still feel that a response to those involved is necessary, then go ahead – civilly.

The Mind

The phrase “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” may seem amusing to some, but it’s a truth that resonates with everyone who’s had a bad day.

Bad days may not start out bad; but as soon as something “bad” happens, it’s usually impossible to stop the tailspin. Before too long, it seems as though the entire universe is conspiring against you, and even the simplest of tasks are monumentally frustrating. However, this can be stopped dead in its tracks – which should be a welcome relief to anyone who’s been in this situation.

Instead of placing yourself in the center of events, take a moment to think of the situation from another point of view. For example, let’s say something at work triggered your angry impulses. Things go downhill from there, and now you’re in your car on the way home and traffic is a mess.

You’ve been stuck on the freeway for half an hour. Your blood is starting to boil over. There’s nothing good on the radio. You’re honking your horn and screaming at those who aren’t moving quickly enough. Everyone’s merging into one lane, people start trying to get ahead on the shoulder, and there goes the whole ballgame.

Up ahead you see the point where the knot of traffic is clear. What’s the hold-up? An idiot got into an accident. Do they just give out licenses these days? You glare at “the moron” as you inch your way past, and by the time you get home it’s open season on your family as you vent the rage from your day.

But, what if you thought for a moment about “that moron” in the accident? How shaken up she must be. How her day is so much worse than yours. Or maybe you think about how your teenage son was recently in an accident, and how you thanked God he was not hurt?

In short: The world does not revolve around you and your problems. Once you understand this and are aware of it at these vulnerable moments, you may find your anger dissipates rapidly.

Another bad Mind habit we fall into is to think that we are powerless to change our ways. Often, people will say, “I’m just like my father – my father always got angry.” Give up hope of a better past! Realize that just because your father was miserable doesn’t meant you have to be. Just because everyone around him suffered, doesn’t mean everyone around you has to now!

The Body

Take every possible precaution not to manifest your anger physically in a way that harms yourself or others. When you get angry, your adrenaline is activated (that’s why your blood pressure rises) – and for some, that means some sort of physical release is necessary. Always choose flight over fight. Take a walk.

Another way people try to calm down is by having a drink. Again, unfortunately, for too many this turns into more drinks, which turns into fights, sloppy declarations, and other reactions to the problem that helps exactly no one involved – least of all, yourself.

Finally, the Body can have strong physiological reactions to anger. If the psychological benefits of lowering your anger levels is not an incentive for you to do so, then get a full checkup from your doctor. You may find that your chronic anger has manifested itself in ways that are literally killing you.

The flip side of the physiological aspect of anger is that your body may be causing your reactions. If you often find yourself unable to control your angry impulses, it may be due to a chemical imbalance in your body. Ask your doctor to check your thyroid, estrogen, testosterone and other organ systems. Chronic heartburn or irritability can be a cause as well as be a symptom of negativity.

The Soul

There’s a bit of hyperbole that many use when describing how a negative event affected them: “I died a little inside.” When it comes to how anger can affect your Soul, it’s 100 percent true.

Think for a moment: How is your anger affecting your Soul? How many people have died a little inside as a result of your outbursts? How many friendships and relationships have died because of your anger? When later you realize what you must seem like to others who witness your rage, exactly how much of your Soul dies a little of shame?